September 8, 2009

A no labor weekend

I headed out of town and into the rain this weekend. One more camping trip before the summer ends. This time we traveled southwest to Belfair State Park on Hood Canal. The weather forecast called for rain all weekend, and we considered canceling the trip, but decided too late to get money back. I'm glad we ended up going.

I arrived Friday afternoon/evening with enough daylight to set up camp. Friday was also the one day without rain in the forecast, so it was nice to be able to set up shelter under clear skies. The other two couples and their kids had arrived ahead of me, so there were lots of hands to make quick work of it.

Before the sun went down, I headed down to the canal. I can't resist walking into any lake, stream or ocean I come upon. I find water extremely relaxing, and it isn't enough to see it from the shore. I need to literally soak it in. I waded in about knee deep and took in the rhythm of the lazy ripples. Cold beer in my hand, I watched as the day came to a close.

The weather would soon change. Friday remained pretty nice, but the skies opened up after we went to bed. The sound of rain on the top of your tent can actually be pretty soothing, and I had one of my more restful nights on a Thermarest. Until the tent leaked and water dripped slowly on my forehead. It was a slow leak so I just moved my sleeping bag to the other side of the tent.

The rain throughout the weekend wasn't your typical Washington weather. We have many days of rain, but it is usually constant drizzle that doesn't always add up to a lot. This weekend it was heavy squalls passing through and then periods of blue sky. Fortunately we each brought a canopy, so we had a few dry spaces to hide under and do our cooking.

In the past we have strung blue tarps between trees for rain shelters, with limited success. The new canopies made it so much easier. When it was raining, we spent most of our time under shelter playing cards. When the squall passed and the sun broke free of the clouds, we simply picked up the canopy so we could sit in the sun. It was never very cold even when it was raining, and I was able to get in a 3 mile run on Saturday in near perfect weather.

During the sun breaks, the kids headed out on their bikes or wandered through the nearby trees looking for some treasure or just the right stick. They were pretty good sports through a mostly wet weekend.

Saturday night I was getting ready for bed and headed out to the trees for some last minute business. When I paused at the chosen tree, I thought "wow, the river is loud". A half a beat later I thought, "wait, we're not on a river". Another beat later I realized the noise I was hearing was approaching rain. The rain couldn't have been more than 40 feet away and I had just enough time to dash back to my tent before the rain caught up to me. This rain was more on the order of a tropical storm and in the safety of my tent I could only laugh in disbelief. No soothing sounds to lull me to sleep at this point.

Sunday was much the same, time spent in an out of the rain shelters. When the sun was out, we wandered down to the beach and took a walk through the other side of the park. Even on a rain filled weekend, the campground was at near capacity. Most of the folks in our section were in RVs, so the weather isn't as much of a big deal, but the loop in the trees was filled with tents as well. Everyone was determined to get in one last break before the summer season semi-officially came to a close, weather be damned.

Monday was dry up until our 1:00 check out time, so we were able to dry things out a bit before packing them up for another season. As it turns out, the forecast calls for sun for the foreseeable future, so the rain was reserved for the holiday weekend. I'm sure it is the government's fault somehow.

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